Hey friends—welcome back!
In the previous few lessons I’ve given you some exercises, some practices, some tools to let go of whatever misperceptions you might still have—misperceptions regarding the nature of who you truly are and the fact that it’s always already present to you.
In fact, you are it—already, always.
This is crucial. It is crucial to gain conviction in what’s always already here. It is the shortcut to Enlightenment. What I’m all about when it comes to these Awareness teachings is to cut to the chase; to realize yes, it’s always already here.
Now let’s experience that, let’s experience that, let’s experience that, until it becomes naturally self-evident and obvious, and it is as true to you as gravity or breathing; until it is as natural to you as breathing. This will happen if you follow these practices, if you perform these exercises—which I hope you do, because it’s important—it really does help you.
You have come to a great sense of conviction in Awareness. Right now, at this point, you feel very comfortable with the fact that you actually are—by nature—Enlightenment itself. You are Awakeness, Awareness, Presence, Awareness itself. Congratulations! To some extent, you have fully realized this.
Now, in the final lesson of in this chapter, I want to address something that trips up a lot of people in their seeking for Awareness, and that is the idea that Awareness is some kind of state. Which is another way of saying that pure Awareness has a form of its own, has a state of its own, has a feeling of its own, an experience of its own—this is not true.
I’m not saying that Awareness cannot release the sense of ease, the sense of presence, the sense of awakeness, the sense of clarity; all of these beautiful qualities are inherent in Awareness. However, Awareness is not dependent on these qualities being experienced by your body-mind vehicle, or by your lower self’s perception of that experience—if we can put that way.
Awareness itself should not be sought out as being some kind of state. We all know the experience of being told about Enlightenment and Awareness and Self-Realization, and then starting to look for it, trying to find the truth, trying to find the peace within.
We think we have it for a moment—but then we lose it again. When we have it, we are afraid of losing it and we try to maintain it and hold onto it. This all comes down to one basic misperception, which is that Awareness has a state of its own—which it does not.
You see, Awareness is essentially formless. I’ll get into this more specifically in a later lesson, but for now just understand that Awareness is not a state. A state is simply an appearance appearing inside Awareness.
So, even though you’ve gained a high level of conviction in Awareness being always already here, there might still be an aspect of you, a portion of you, that is seeking for a particular type of experience. It seeks for Awareness to be a particular type of feeling perhaps, or a particular type of clarity. This can continue, perpetuate, and increase the sense of strife. Seeking and contraction, in a sense (not truly, not fundamentally, but experientially), block us from realizing more of the already present nature of Awakeness itself.
What we want is for you to be completely relaxed, to be completely at ease, to feel completely comfortable and confident in what’s always already here.
If you’re equating pure Awareness with some kind of state you have an image of, or with an associated feeling, then you will always try to fit Awareness inside of that feeling. You will always try to squeeze yourself into that feeling and try to maintain it because that’s what you equate with Enlightenment. That’s what you believe Enlightenment or Awareness or Awakeness or Self-Realization to be.
I wish to help you let go of this idea that Awareness can be found as a particular kind of state, feeling, emotion, thought—or maybe even a state of no-thought or a state of no-emotion or a state of no-feeling. None of these things are true, you see, because Awareness is always already here, which also means that it has been present to every single one of your states.
If Awareness itself was one of those states, it would have come up and then disappeared, come up and disappeared, along with the state that it would then be. But since it’s not a state—since it’s a transcendent non-state, since Awareness is simply the nature of Consciousness, the nature of Awareness, the nature of perception itself—it includes all perceptions.
Awareness embraces all perceptions. It enables all perceptions, experiences, and appearances. But it itself cannot be confined to be any single one of the experiences that it is having. How can Awareness be an experience that it is having? Again, if it could, it would come up and disappear along with that experience.
But we’ve seen very decisively, very definitively, that Awareness remains, even when thoughts come and go, feelings come and go, depression comes and goes, excitement comes and goes, people come and go, relationships come and go, circumstances come and go, and money comes and goes. The movement of life has always been changing inside of Awareness; it has never actually affected the essence of Awareness itself.
So, Awareness by definition is not a state—at least not a state in the way that we think of it. It is not a state of a particular type of experience. Another way of saying it is that Awareness is not an experience—it is not any particular type of experience.
Now, I’m not saying you cannot experience Awareness, because you can. The only thing that cannot be experienced, in traditional terms, is Infinity, or the Absolute, or the One, or Beyondness (which we’ll get into in the Infinity teachings). Awareness can have an experience of itself, but it itself never becomes any single one experience.
In a sense, we could say that Awareness is the experiences it is having as well; they are inseparable, they are one and the same thing—objects actually are Awareness. We will get into this in the Enlightenment III teachings, when I talk about non-duality and inseparability.
But the appearances that come and go do not define Awareness; do not entangle Awareness. Awareness always remains free; it always remains the infinite, endless observer. It will never become what it sees, in that way. It will never be tied to the fate of what comes and what goes.
So, Awareness is not a state.
If you can, relax your search for a particular type of feeling to come with Awareness, and simply be more open than that. Be less, in a sense, egotistical or insistent than that; be more trusting. Have more faith in the fact that things unfold as they should unfold, and that Awareness can be recognized, regardless of what is unfolding, because this is very powerful.
As soon as you equate Awareness with a particular type of feeling, you will continue to experience the illusion that you are stuck, or the illusion that “sometimes you are aware and sometimes you are not aware,” or that “sometimes you are enlightened and sometimes you are not enlightened.” You will continue to beat yourself up. You will continue to engage in this vicious cycle of seeking for that which is already doing all the seeing, all the being, all the freeing, all the here-and-nowness.
So, for your own sake, let go of the idea that Awareness should come in a particular type of form, feeling, sensation, thought, or state of being, so you can free yourself up to recognize what is always already looking through your eyes, seeing every state, seeing every thought, feeling every feeling. It is not tied to what it observes.
Realize this and it will make all your practices of recognizing Awareness that much more effortless, because you will no longer be seeking for a particular type of experience; you will no longer be trying to fit endless Awareness, pure Awareness, into a particular type of mold. You will allow it to be as free as it is and you will see that experiences are simply confirmations of the stateless state of free Awareness.
For the purpose of this exercise’s homework, I want you to sit down for approximately 10 to 15 minutes and simply rest, as you are already familiar with. Rest in spacious free Awareness, and recognize that feelings of that realization are released. Meaning that you’ll have moments of release; you may have moments of experiencing bliss, moments of experiencing freedom, or moments of experiencing ease and expansion.
Notice that even the experiences or the innate qualities that Awareness exudes throughout the coming and going of these experiences—even its own qualities, in a sense, come and go. At least in your eyes, at least to your sense of “I am experiencing these feelings.”
Ultimately, all of these qualities are innately ever-present. But your experience of ease, your experience of bliss, your experience of peace and freedom and expansion—watch them come and go. Notice that as these innate qualities of Awareness come and go in your experience, Awareness is aware of the coming, the being, and the disappearing of these experiences.
As you are sitting for 15 minutes, confirm Awareness to yourself. Recognize Awareness, be Awareness, rest as Awareness. Notice that all the expansive feelings of Awareness—and whatever other states of being or states of mind or states of doubt or states of lack may occur—notice that all of these states come and go and that Awareness is not confined to any one of them.
Awareness is beyond all states. It is the Free Observer itself; it is Free Agency; it is Free Awareness itself.
This will help you stop seeking. And when you stop seeking, what you’re looking for is so obviously right in your face—it’s right here, it’s realized!
So, have fun, as always, and try it at least twice before you open the next lesson.
Thank you and have a great day.